Bacteria levels at West Point Lake back to normal

amccallum@ledger- enquirer.comOctober 7, 2009 

LAGRANGE, Ga. — Fecal coliform bacteria levels in West Point Lake have dropped back to normal.

Joe Maltese, a retired city employee who still consults for LaGrange and helps collect lake samples, said samples done Friday showed the bacteria counts were back below state water quality standards.

Elevated levels of fecal coliform bacteria were found in water samples taken from the lake after waters moved downstream from an Atlanta rainstorm two weeks ago.

The bacteria is commonly found in human and animal feces. An increase in bacteria is common after heavy rains.

Maltese said testing at six locations on West Point Lake found fecal coliform levels were “well within” water quality standards. An additional test was performed at the northern end of the lake in Franklin — located in Heard County — where officials found elevated levels not in compliance.

“That site is where the river meets the lake,” Maltese said, adding it’s the northern most site tested.

He added since the last round of testing, the Franklin area has improved and likely will normalize in about two weeks, when the next samples are taken.

He said the lake is now safe to use but people should still be aware of debris that was swept downstream by the flooding.

“People need to use caution on the lake,” he said, but added, “The lake is usable; the fish are biting.”

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